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Avera Medical Minute: Resources after a cancer diagnosis

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 10:13 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - There are plenty of resources after a cancer diagnosis. We learn about those in today’s Avera Medical Minute.

Thor: Erica George a Nurse Navigator with Avera Health joins us. You know when someone receives a cancer diagnosis what are the first things they should do?

Erica: “So I would advise anyone who has just received that diagnosis of cancer to write down any notes and questions they may have. You might want to educate yourself by researching online. That being said, I would stick to a reputable website such as the American Cancer Society’s website which is nice and easy to remember, Cancer.org.

Thor: It can be overwhelming to find this out. What are some basic steps people should take as they begin their cancer treatment journey?

Erica: “Honestly the best advice I can give is to enlist the help of family and friends and your care team for that matter once you come in and get acquainted. Bringing a trusted family member and friend not only can that help emotionally, it can help provide that second set of ears so that you have another person helping to retain that information, understand it, and they can also be your advocate help answer questions that you maybe wouldn’t have thought of.”

Thor: What support services are available along the way?

Erica: “Honestly that’s one of the reasons why I’m most proud to work where I do at Avera. We offer a lot of support services, we have social workers that are available to help with emotional needs, lodging, transportation, we have a dietician available for nutrition services, a chaplain for spiritual support, integrative medicine which helps with symptom management, there’s cancer support groups, patient advocates which help with financial problems, and then we have five advance practice disease specific navigators that will help with your journey as well.”

Thor: I know there are different types of cancer and treatment but what is the process that a patient should follow?

Erica: “When you get here, you will have your initial consultation where you meet with your interdisciplinary team. That will include your oncologist, social work patient advocate. Depending on their diagnosis you would meet with one of the disease specific navigators. From there at that appointment your treatment diagnosis on what to expect. From there depending on family history diagnosis. You would possibly do genetic testing which would further give us information as far as best course of action.”

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